Make a case: DeAndre Hopkins will be better in 2021
DeAndre Hopkins is preparing for his second season with the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded on March 22, 2020. A decision that deeply shocked the football world. Hopkins hasn’t had a normal offseason as the world has come to a halt due to Covid-19.
Fast forward to 2021, the NFL offseason has returned to normal activities. The teams held rookie camps, OTAs, and training camp practices. What does this mean for DeAndre Hopkins? His knowledge of offense and overall chemistry with Kyler Murray should have improved.
The question arises, can we see a better version of DeAndre Hopkins in 2021? I believe we can and will. I know you are thinking, how much better can it be? This elevation of play is not entirely related to its production of statistics.
The way Kliff Kingsbury deploys his elite receiver can increase his efficiency and productivity. In 2020, DeAndre Hopkins left-aligned 86% of his snaps. Therefore, this use created offensive predictability. Placing Hopkins on the move like his stay in Houston is the best way to use it.
Also, we must take into account the lack of talent at the receiver position.
Another reason Hopkins can be even better this season is the addition of AJ Green and Rondale Moore. The opposing defenses were able to focus only on Hopkins and roll the cover over to the left side of the formation. It will be a more difficult task to accomplish with the presence of Green and Moore.
Early in the preseason, Kingsbury gave NFL defenses a glimpse of what Rondale Moore is capable of. The dynamic versatility as a runner and catcher can grab Hopkins’ attention.
Green’s ability to play both indoors and outdoors provides play appeal flexibility. The Cardinals ranked first in the league with 10 staff members (4 WRs). Kingsbury could choose to field Hopkins and Green on the same side of the roster. It would create a spotlight on that side and set Moore or Kirk free.
DeAndre Hopkins could have fewer receiving yards / receptions and a bigger impact for this offense. The last time he caught ten or more touchdowns was in Houston for the 2018 season. Last season, Hopkins only had six touchdowns.
I would love to see Kingsbury dial more shots and red zone targets for Hopkins. Kyler Murray has targeted Hopkins 14 times with seven assists and three touchdowns. This pairing was effective in attacking defenses 20 yards or more down the field.
This Arizona Cardinals offense received a lot of hype, and for good reason. If the new weapons can pull some cover and pressure from Hopkins, as well as better use of Kingsbury. They can live up to the hype and become a consistent top offense in the NFL.